With successful implementation of its Holistic Rural Development Program (HRDP) in rural Uttarakand, HDFC Bank Parivartan extended its partnership with Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) to the Patiala district of Punjab. The 4-year project will cover 15 villages of Rajpura and Sambhu blocks of Patiala district, with focused interventions on agro-based livelihood, women empowerment, health & sanitation and quality education.
HRDP is a flagship CSR initiative of #Parivartan, HDFC Bank’s umbrella brand for all its social development programmes. It seeks to better village life by focussing on improvements in key areas of:
2) Skills Training and Livelihood Enhancement
3) Natural Resources Management
4) Water and Sanitation
5) Financial Literacy and Inclusion.
Under this unique programme, a thorough assessment of the village is carried out to understand its developmental needs. To address these needs in a sustainable and effective manner, the Bank creates long-term solutions in partnership with an NGO and the local community. The beneficiaries of HRDP include small farmers, youth, landless labourers, children and women.
In Punjab’s Patiala district, there is a high level of distress among the rural communities and villages selected for the HRDP project implementation. The people here are largely dependent on agriculture for their livelihood with a major problem being high input costs, low crop yields and the depletion of natural resources. Furthermore, degradation of soil, water and biodiversity are other big challenges for the sustainable development of agriculture here.
ACF, along with HDFC Bank Parivartan, will kick-start the first phase with creating awareness around water-use efficiency, which includes micro-irrigation, appropriate mulching practices, and farming techniques to protect crops from frost, pests and insects; along with growing exotic vegetables. A farmer’s club will also be formed for collective input procurement and to facilitate the collective marketing of vegetables and crops.
“Through HRDP we are creating an ecosystem to improve the overall economic and social conditions in rural India. Our partners play an instrumental role in planning and executing projects. We are happy to see the positive impact of our work in Uttarakhand and thank all the participants who participated in the project to make the initiative a success. We look forward to impacting as many lives in Punjab” said Ms. Nusrat Pathan, Head – Corporate Social Responsibility, HDFC Bank.
Talking about the ongoing partnership and expansion of the project to another state, Pearl Tiwari, Director & CEO, Ambuja Cement Foundation said, “We are delighted to continue our long-standing relationship with HDFC Bank. We are natural partners when it comes to holistic development of rural communities, as HDFC Bank Parivartan’s philosophy of ‘Progress Begins When We Empower Communities’ very much aligns with ACF's vision of ‘Building Sustainable, Prosperous Communities via Partnerships.’ Together we are committed to enabling distressed communities to go from poverty to prosperity, and we look forward to enabling that journey and transformation for the people of Patiala too.”
Under the Women Empowerment Program, ACF will encourage women to participate in income generating activities. Small production units will be established, where women will be skilled in embroidery, phulkari, knitting and stitching, whilst also helping them to market their handicraft goods and other items. A Woman Artisan Group will be created and linked with a bank to assist these rural women to save their money and get financial support, if they need it.
Additionally, ACF will also run a health and sanitation programme to promote behavior change in the community, by creating awareness on Non-Communicable Diseases. Awareness and sensitization programmes will also be organized on solid waste management, segregation of waste and creating compost manure with biodegradable waste. ACF will also focus on the development of school infrastructure to ensure quality education for all. Smart classrooms will be developed along with separate areas for mid-day meals and drinking water, with modern facilities. In order to ensure cleanliness and hygiene, separate toilets for girls and boys will be constructed. In Anaganwadis, the focus will be on improving hygienic conditions, seating arrangements, learning materials, establishment of Toilet blocks and drinking water stations.
During the last four years, under HRDP, ACF has successfully facilitated the transformation of 20 villages in Haridwar and Roorkee districts, with both social and economic development. As an implementing partner for HDFC Bank Parivartan, ACF looks forward to doing the same in the select villages of Patiala.